Rising Ajax star has it all worked out

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Despite all that, Sasman’s focus is now on the Metropolitan Premier Cup (MPC), the popular under-19 tournament hosted by Bayhill United, which has become one of the biggest junior football events on the continent.

Ajax – and Sasman – are looking to take the MPC title for the third successive year. They won it in 2013 and 2014. Last year, Sasman captained the Cape side’s under-19s and he is dead-keen on lifting the trophy again this year.

The tournament is currently under way at Erica Park in Belhar.

Ajax’s intentions for the event were made abundantly clear when, in addition to Sasman, they also included three other teenagers who are already part of their PSL squad – goalkeeper Jody February and midfielders Ziggy Eksteen and Olwethu Nguye.

“This is my third Bayhill,” said Sasman, who will again captain the Ajax under-19s at the tournament.

“I was part of the squad that won the two previous years, and we are looking to make it three in a row.

“This is a tournament I love playing in. It’s tough, but it’s a great challenge. Some of the best under-19 teams from all over the country are here as well as some overseas teams as well. As a player, it gives you an indication of how you shape up against players from elsewhere.”

Sasman is from Retreat, but matriculated at Norman Henshilwood in Constantia – though, needless to say, there will be no more studying for the defender in the near future as he concentrates on making it as a professional footballer.

He started his career at Peninsula United in Grassy Park, but by the age of 10 he was taken up in the Ajax youth academy. He has since progressed all the way to the PSL squad, an indication of how highly rated he is at the club based in Parow.

“Getting called up to the PSL squad this season was great,” said Sasman. “I had worked very hard for the opportunity, and to be part of it all was reward for my effort. But there’s still a long way to go. Now I have to convince the coaches that I’m good enough to get an opportunity to play in the PSL team.”

The MultiChoice Diski Challenge, the official Reserve League of the PSL, offered Sasman an early chance to test himself against players of PSL-standard. Capable of playing at left-back or centre-back, he enjoyed the challenge of playing in the Diski Challenge.

“It was tough,” he said. “You had to think a lot quicker and always be on your guard. I was up against players with PSL experience, but it was a good learning curve for me.

“At least, I have an idea of what to expect when I get my chance in the Ajax PSL team.”

Sasman also gave some insight into his trip to Amsterdam.

“Rivaldo Coetzee (Ajax and Bafana central defender) and I were together on the training spell with Ajax Amsterdam in April last year,” he said.

“It was tough, they work very hard. But we got accustomed to the players, the language, and the conditions, and it went well. We spent two weeks there and learnt a lot on the trip.”

As for the future, Sasman has his goals carefully set and well-planned.

“Right now, I’m intent on helping the Ajax under-19s to win the Bayhill for the third year running,” he said. “After that, I’m looking at two tournaments in Germany, where our under-19 squad will be participating, and, at the same time, hoping that my hard work and performances are recognised enough to get a chance in the PSL squad. I know that when my opportunity comes, I won’t disappoint.

“Also, I’m hoping that there will be another opportunity at Ajax Amsterdam in the future.”

Over the years, since the establishment of Ajax in 1999, there have been many top footballers rolling off the youth academy’s assembly line of talent. Some have gone all the way to forge successful careers in Europe, while some have carved lucrative careers in the PSL. Sasman is the latest hopeful from the Cape club’s academy – and all indications are that he, too, could be destined to go all the way to the top.

Original source: Rising Ajax star has it all worked out

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